What has life taught me?1

Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, I wish to give a short talk on the subject "What has life taught me?" Life has taught me that there are many people on earth who see God in everybody and everything. In God's creation they see nothing but God. Therefore, they exist only for God. Each living breath of theirs they offer to the loving God.

There are some people who live on earth only for others. They are not fully aware of God's existence in others; but they feel that if they can live for others, then their life of selfishness, narrowness and meanness will disappear. They live for others, not because they see God in others, but because they feel that they will derive satisfaction in life only by offering their service to others. Service, dedicated service, is for them satisfaction in its purest form.

Then, there are others who live only for themselves. For them there is no God, there are no other human beings, save and except themselves.

As an individual, I can live for God, I can live for others, I can live for myself. When I live for God, only for God — God the Creator and God the creation — then I feel that I am doing absolutely the right thing. Therefore, I am perfect.

When I live for others, that is to say, when I expand and extend my consciousness, then I feel that I am doing a divine thing that will elevate the consciousness, illumine the minds and fulfil the needs of others. Therefore, I am divine.

But when I live only for myself, to aggrandise my ego and fulfil my teeming desires, and when I ignore my countless imperfections, limitations and bondage, at that time I am nothing short of imperfection, limitation, bondage and death. I feel that I am of myself and for myself. I sing the song of ego, the song of my own self-centred consciousness. Each second, consciously and deliberately I dig my own grave. At that time, divinity and perfection remain a far cry.

There are various places for us to live. We can live in the body, we can live in the vital, we can live in the mind, we can live in the heart, we can live in the soul. When we live in the body, the gross physical body, we enjoy nothing but sleep, inertia, sloth and fun-life's continuous fun. When we live in the physical, a life of pleasure, we feel, is the life of reality for us.

When we live in the vital, the unaspiring vital, we feel that aggression is what we want and need. Unfortunately, what looms large in aggression is destruction, and before we destroy others we see that we are totally destroyed. Before we try to realise what we have actually done, we feel that our days are numbered, as a matter of fact, that we are already dead. The unaspiring vital identifies us with Julius Caesar, who said, Veni, vidi, vici, "I came, I saw, I conquered." But what have we conquered? We have conquered the very things that have to be utilised for God: love, faith, sincerity, humility. These divine things we have conquered in order to lord it over others. Our unaspiring vital conquers others' good qualities and tries to dominate others.

When we live in the mind, the reasoning mind, we feel there is nothing but reason and doubt. We feel that by using the reasoning mind, one day we shall arrive at the truth. But that is impossible. Truth is far beyond the reasoning mind. We feel that if we doubt others and if we doubt the existence of God, that means we are in a position to judge God's creation. But the sincere seeker in us knows that doubt is slow poison. If we doubt others, we gain nothing. If we doubt God, we gain nothing. And the moment we doubt ourselves, which we do quite often, we ruin all our possibilities and destroy the divine potentiality within us.

When we live in the heart, the aspiring heart, we get constant confidence, we feel that we have a Source. This Source is Light infinite, Delight eternal. We can sing with the Indian sages, the seers of the hoary past: Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante … "From Delight we came into existence. In Delight we grow. At the end of our journey's close, into Delight we retire." Because we feel that God the infinite Supreme is our Source, we feel that we also have the opportunity to become the Infinite and to spread the Light of Infinity throughout the length and breadth of the world.

Some are of the opinion that hands are hands, head is head and heart is heart, that they cannot be combined. But I wish to say that this is not true. Since the hands are God's creation, since the head is God's creation, since the heart is God's creation, they have to be combined. With the heart we shall feel God's transcendental Peace and infinite Bliss. With the mind we shall discover the world of the yet-unknown. And with the hands we shall serve what we know and what we can feel. What we know is God's constant message: "Do good; be good." What we can feel is that God is all Love. What we serve is God the Smile. God's Smile we serve here on earth and aspiring humanity accepts this service from us, from the seekers of the infinite, eternal Truth.

Here we are all seekers. In the life of a seeker, quality comes first, without fail; then comes quantity. Quality comes from God; quantity also comes from God. If a seeker has the inner cry and if God comes to him with His descending Light, if Grace comes from Heaven and aspiration comes from earth, when they meet together quality can be multiplied into quantity. Again, quantity can also be transformed into quality.

Here on earth our life is a constant battle; we are always in the battlefield of life. Even unaspiring human beings are constantly struggling for survival. They are trying to satisfy their animal needs and their human needs. When they are struggling, that means they are fighting against something in order to achieve what they need or want. Aspiring seekers also constantly fight. Fight against whom? Against their own nature, against their doubt and fear, against anxiety, worry and imperfection. At the end of their journey they will be crowned with triumphant success.

Life is acceptance and life is rejection. The human in us rejects the divine, but the divine accepts the human. The finite in us is afraid of the Infinite. It feels that if it enters into the ocean of Infinity, then Infinity will devour its existence. It is ready to stand forever on the shore. But the divine in us knows well that life is meant for acceptance. The finite in us has to be accepted and then it has to be transformed into Infinity. If we have an iota of a good thought, an iota of a loving thought, then we have to increase it into Infinity. The divine in us tells us that it is in the finite that we will have to hear the song of Infinity. As we hear the song of Infinity in Eternity, Immortality and Infinity itself, even so we shall have to hear and finally sing the song of Infinity in the finite here on earth.

Life has taught me to go ahead. This is the aspiring life. The moment we have covered one step, we see that our loving Father runs towards us ninety-nine steps. This is an experience that a sincere seeker of the ultimate Truth is bound to have. But if one is not a seeker, then the undivine forces, the hostile forces will tempt him to dine with ignorance. And ignorance means unconscious or conscious destruction.

Life has taught me how to forget, how to forgive and how to unlearn. There are many things that I have to forget. If I don't forget, then my life becomes a sea of excruciating pangs. Again, there are many things that I have to forgive. If I don't forgive, then I feel the load of my whole body right on my head; I feel a heavy load of world-imperfection, which I am part and parcel of. The moment I forgive, I unload the heavy load. Then, I have to unlearn. There are many things the mind has taught me which are fruitless, useless, futile. When I just keep them, not to speak of treasuring them, then I feel that I am extremely heavy and I cannot run the fastest towards the Golden Shore. If I unlearn, I become light. And if I become light, I can run like a deer.

Life has taught me something else most significant: that self-importance must be cast aside. Let me try to think and feel sincerely that I am not at all indispensable. Who is indispensable? God. When I feel that I am not indispensable, at that time out of His infinite bounty God inundates my inner being with Joy, Love and Bliss. If I need Peace, if I need Love, if I need anything worth achieving, then I can have it only when I serve God lovingly, devotedly, unconditionally and with the feeling of humility, with the feeling that I am not at all indispensable. Today God is using me as a seeker. Tomorrow He can utilise somebody else as a seeker of the highest Truth. As long as He uses me as a seeker, I have to seek the highest Truth. As long as He uses me as a servitor, I shall serve mankind. But I am in no way indispensable, either on earth or in Heaven. When I have that kind of realisation, God can utilise me in His own inimitable Way. At that time I become His perfect, chosen instrument, a faithful, devoted, soulful and unconditional instrument of the Absolute Supreme.

  1. FFB 155. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 24 April 1974 — 10:00 am.